Uniting South Africans: Thousands celebrate the open streets of Mitchells Plain

Uniting South Africans: Thousands celebrate the open streets of Mitchells Plain

- The collaboration between the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority and the NGO called Open Streets Cape Town, saw Mitchells Plain turning into a celebration of colour

- Streets were marked with colourful chalk and thousand came to enjoy the festivities

- People were inspired by how the event managed to unite citizens in a joyful celebration, which saw roads being closed off the all cars

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On Sunday, a major street in Mitchells Plain was closed down to make way for the Open Street event.

According to the managing director and co-founder of Open Streets Cape Town, Marcela Guerrero, the aim of the initiative was for residents of the area to have an opportunity to connect with each other.

“For the greater Cape Town, it is about exploring parts of the city which on a regular day might feel out of bounds because of perception of crime or simply the long distances.”, Guerrero added.

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A 22-year-old man from Langa, Thabo Mshwamo, pointed out to the thousands of people who attended the event, adding the unity throughout the day was exactly what South Africa needed.

“We need that unity. This is one of the events that I can say brings people together.”, Mshwamo said.

Mshwamo part of a group from Tsiba Education, which cycles from Langa to Claremont and then to Mitchells Plain.

“We cycle to raise funds for other people to be given an opportunity to study,” he said.

According to Brett Herron, Mayco Member for Transport and Urban Development, the aim of Open Streets days were to purpose of Open Streets days is to reinterpret roads without motorists by turning it "into a playground for pedestrians, and all other types of mobility.”

Even Cape Town's mayor attended the day. Patricia de Lille said attracting people from various areas to Mitchells Plain creates social cohesion.

"We started about three years ago. The intent was part of building an inclusive city.”, de Lille added.

The day saw people from various areas coming together to enjoy the festivities.

“I have an idea of what Mitchells Plain is in my mind, but I won’t know until I come and see … I think it’s a really great way to open up public spaces and make it safer for everyone,” said Ansuné Van Der Merwe, a 25-year-old from Mowbray.

Another focus of the day was to create awareness of the public transport challenge. Open Streets encourages people to take public transport, but the Capetonian mayor said the dysfunctional Metrorail has “got a major impact on the traffic congestion in our city”.

“We’d like to think that we can raise awareness about the critical state of public transport in Cape Town. We don’t see our role in putting direct pressure on government but rather in enabling people to come together and raise their voices as active citizens.”, said Casas.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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